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Latest person charged with attempted murder of DCI John Caldwell refused bail

'Those holding the beliefs of the IRA represent a risk to the wider public but primarily police'

DCI John Caldwell

The latest person to be charged with attempting to murder Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell as he coached a youth football team on February 22 2023 has been refused bail.

Alan Lundy (44) from Flax Street, Belfast is also accused of preparing for terrorist acts and is the only person of the 14 defendants allegedly involved to be charged with directing a terrorist organisation.

It was previously disclosed there was previous attempt to attack DCI Caldwell three weeks before the incident, as a particular car was spotted in the Youth Sport area in Omagh, however training was cancelled that night.

Opposing bail prosecuting counsel contended Lundy is, “Interictal to the acquisition, storage and disposal of vehicles used in the attack. They were either purchased or stored in Belfast before being supplied to those involved on the direction of the defendant.”

The court heard Lundy is allegedly the New IRA commanding officer in Belfast and co-accused Brian Carron, who is alco charged with attempted murder, is his Tyrone counterpart.

Lundy was involved in meetings with others  connected to the attack in which, “Operational security was employed, with meetings arranged by short phone calls. Meetings took place outdoors by  ‘a walk-and-talk’. Mobile phones were taken to meetings but left in cars. These are active before and after the meetings, but not during. Plans are put in place and key events occur afterwards.”

It was disclosed seven mobile phones were seized during a search of Lundy’s property but no access codes were provided. In addition, a phone he is suspected of using around the time of the attack has not been found.

Around 10 days after the shooting a protest was held outside Palace Barracks, by a group which met in West Belfast beforehand, with footage showing Carron and Lundy in discussions.

During this, “Carron is seen re-enacting a shooting with a man holding his arms up which was indicative of the pose adopted by DCI Caldwell during the attempt on his life. This detail was not public knowledge at that time.”

Lundy was spoken of by others captured covert recordings in Operation Arbacia in which he was described as “The most sincere volunteer. If you haven’t  got him as OC in Belfast, you’re in difficulties.”

The prosecution said, “During interviews lasting 7 hours 44 minutes the defendant remained silent and refused to acknowledge the court when charged. That of course is his choice, but choices have consequences, and it could be seen as a complete refusal to acknowledge or abide by any conditions the court may impose if granted bail.”

She added the attack, “Was a replanned and sophisticated operation by those dedicated to violence. There are substantial grounds to suspect further offences will occur and they will be grave. The defendant is of a mindset and association sympathetic to violent dissident republican activity, The current threat level is severe. The claim note stated, ‘You will have to live a normal life and one day the IRA will be waiting’. That was a very sinister threat which has to be taken seriously.”

Defence counsel however argued bail should be granted as there is no evidence connecting Lundy to the attack and “This is at best an inherently weak prosecution case, based upon supposition and inference.”

Following consideration District Judge Michael Ranaghan refused bail stating, “The prosecution rely on a web of evidence which the defence says amounts to nothing as his the defendant’s only connection is association with those accused of the miserable cowardly and vicious attack on DCI Caldwell. The defendant has links to both the attack and the earlier aborted attempt. Those holding the beliefs of the IRA represent a risk to the wider public but primarily police.”

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